Below you will find some practical tips based on experience gained in practice in the context of outsourcing services:
- Outsourcing would be profitable when it comes to a long time period, for example, more than five years. Short periods of a few years are usually not cost effective in particular because of the high preparation costs.
- Evaluate regularly, for example every two years, the extent to which the outsourcing is still profitable. Wages and costs of the people in low income countries is also on the rise (10% per year is no exception).
- Consider the options to bring work to the people or the people to the work. Both options cost the necessary time with the latter option possibly less (by walking) takes time but include accommodation costs.
- Go with network, data communication and security specialists in advance to the table with the aim to determine possible solutions including costs and production time. It is crucial to this in the interests and requirements of the client! Involving the client in this process is better than confronting the client with the facts after the decision has been made. This can cause the client relationship heavy damage in a very short time!
- Realize that connections in the far East are 'load-balanced' on which you have no influence (connections to the United States via Japan or Australia run both for example). If it became apparent that the bandwidth is insufficient to operate effectively then additional bandwidth will be needed. The question of course also to be addressed is who is going to pay these costs.
- Organize workshops over and over again about each other's culture. This motivates the people with growth and mutual understanding.
- In any case, as a Project Manager or Manager travel a few times a year to the Delivery Center and work there a couple of weeks. It is also advisable that the counterpart of the Project Manager or the Manager of the Delivery Center does the same. Of course, these costs must be budgeted.
- The preparation of InterCompany Agreements and Documents of understanding, in other words, the contractual arrangements between the supplier and the Delivery Center, is work for specialists. Have the right people in the supplier organization. Use these contracts as the source for the drafting of contracts with clients so that the whole chain is followed.
Avoid special/alternative arrangements with clients as much as possible (this also gives extra cost which is detrimental to the efficiency of the outsourcing services).
- Determine in advance which type of data access will be available for the people from the Delivery Center. If this 'sensitive personal information' then you will have to take additional measures, such as obtaining permission from the Ministry of Justice, or it is not possible from a legal point of view.
- A project can extend past a year. It is quite common that salary increases occur on January 1. This means that the hourly rates of the people in the Delivery Center also will rise. This affects the project costs.
- Hold regular conference calls (preference is video conferencing so you can see the non-verbal communication, most of human communication, and secondly you get to know each other better and faster what is crucial in the context of cooperation) and take into account time differences. When time differences of more than 8 hours occur you may want to consider the time one party puts in outside of working hours to attend meetings and other times it should be the other party.
Put what has been discussed and agreed upon fixed in minutes and share them with each other (this is actually 'just' Project Management).
- Keep all national holidays of the different countries involved central so that everyone involved can see this. Add this to each other's calendars so that there is a better understanding for each other.
- Agree to a communication management plan with each other.
- Certainly in the beginning of a new working relationship, it is important to keep a finger on the pulse and get to know each other (and understand). You can consider during the first weeks of a new cooperation daily contact.
- Make explicit and measurable working goals with the people of the Delivery Center and measure this, especially in the beginning, regularly so that you can adjust in time. You might think of an agile-like approach.
- Try to make arrangements with the employees in the Delivery Center about 'commitment' in order to avoid being suddenly disappear after a training period if they can get a better job somewhere else.
- Do not use the trick to convert to 'business' visa to a work visa as this can pose many problems for everyone involved! Look closely when the person concerned will have to carry out activities in different countries! It is often possible to attend meetings or education in different countries but not to be able to work in different countries! This is especially true for people outside the European Union.
- Use a common project file which is accessible by both parties (and test this before it's actually put into service).